What is a Disciple-Making Movement?

A DMM (disciple-making movement) is a new and exciting strategy for reaching people with the Gospel.

Traditional Missions

Traditionally, a missionary would be responsible for going out into their community to evangelize daily, disciple as many people as they could, start churches, and pray something would stick.

It put a lot of pressure on the missionary, who was solely responsible for the spiritual well-being of all their disciples. It also severely limited the reach of the Gospel because it could only travel as fast as the missionary could!

The DMM Approach

DMMs, however, can move much more quickly because it removes the missionary as the sole disciple-maker.

With a DMM, a missionary finds a Person of Peace in their community. They start a group with the Person of Peace and their friends and family. These groups are self-led (meaning the missionary does not need to be involved regularly) through Discovery Bible Studies, where the group members are constantly encouraged to share what they’re learning with their own friends and family.

Eventually, each group member will go out and start their own group, then each of those members will start their own groups, and the cycle continues, multiplying the number of disciples exponentially.

With this strategy, thousands of people could be reached in months, something that would have seemed impossible to one missionary under the old system!

(It’s important to note that not each DMM starts or progresses the same way. These movements tend to be messy and can look different depending on the culture and country of implementation. This is, however, the textbook structure for DMMs.)

Needless to say, God is doing big things through DMMs!

Do DMMS work?

In short, YES!

DMMs have proven to be extremely effective across the globe. Team Expansion started implementing DMM principles in 2014 and has seen incredible results.

From 2003 to 2014, our attendance at Team Expansion planted churches grew by 10,000. Then from 2014 to 2017 it grew another 10,000! God did in 3 years what took 11 years before DMMs.

The number of churches and groups started from 2014 to 2017 was 4 times faster than the previous years. And the number of baptisms more than quadrupled!

Definition of a disciple making movement


A disciple making movement is the rapid spread of the Gospel and obedience to it among people who have previously not known and loved God. This was the goal of the Apostle Paul and something he saw happen in Thessalonica (2 Thessalonians 3:1).

Disciple making movements are measured in four dimensions: obedience, and the breadth, depth and rate of reproduction.


Discovery Bible Studies are different from the other disciple making tools I have emphasized in one significant way:

Discovery Bible Studies are designed to be used by people who have yet to fall in love with Jesus, not by those who already have.

In fact, one of the main reasons I use the Bible, practice active listening and do intentional inquiry is to find people of peace who do not yet know Jesus, in order to help them facilitate Discovery Bible Studies for their circle of family or friends.

Here is what I equip people of peace do:

Build Community. 

They do this by gathering their circle and asking four questions:

1.     What are you thankful for today?

2.    What is causing you stress?

3.    How can we help each other?

4.    Who else can we help?

Initiate and Sustain Change. 

They do this by asking their circle three questions:

1.     What did we discover last time we met?

2.    Who did you share it with?

3.    How did you put it into practice?

Hear and Learn from God. 

They do this by having their circle:

1.     Read the Bible

2.    Re-tell the Bible

3.    Respond to three questions –

·       What does this passage say about God?

·       What does this passage say about people?

·       If this is true, what will you do?

Reach Out to Other People. 

They do this by asking their circle two questions:

1.     Who needs to hear what we just learned?

2.    How are we going to help each other and someone else?

Your turn:

1.     What people of peace can you equip to lead a Discovery Bible Study for their circle of family or friends?

2.    What excites you about this possibility? What concerns you?

© Christo Nel 2019